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Peyton Manning: What Denver Broncos QB Must Do over Final Stretch to Secure MVP

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a first half pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2012

A familiar face, Peyton Manning is in the driver's seat to win his fifth career NFL regular season MVP Award. But he's no lock to win. 

Not yet, at least.

Sure, Manning is torching defenses this season and has the 11-3 Denver Broncos on a nine-game winning streak heading into the season's final two weeks. But he'll need to finish strong in order to make the best possible case and ultimately secure the coveted individual honor.

Here, we'll break down what No. 18 must do over the next two weeks to convince the voters he's the 2012 MVP.

 

Week 16: Cleveland Browns

Manning and the Broncos have been sensational at home this season, winning five of six overall. And that's good news for Denver fans considering the team will be home for its final two games of the regular season.

Next up for Manning and the Broncos, the Cleveland Browns. 

Cleveland ranks 25th in the NFL defending the pass, surrendering roughly 247 yards per game through the air. The Browns are a little better at keeping opposing quarterbacks out of the end zone, however. Cleveland ranks 16th in the league in fewest passing touchdowns allowed (21) in 2012.

Manning will need to at least throw for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns in this game. Oh yeah, and more importantly, the Broncos will need to win in order to move to 12-3 heading into their season finale. 

 

Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs

Peyton Manning will have one shot to leave a lasting impression on MVP voters in Week 17, when he and the Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs at Mile High.

In the divisional rivals' first meeting of the season last month, Manning completed 22-of-37 passes for 285 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His 90.5 passer rating in that game was the third-worst of his 2012 season thus far. 

Manning will have added pressure to perform this time around, though.

He will be chasing Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers for most passing touchdowns, so throwing for multiple scores will be key in order for him to make his case even stronger. If he throws two touchdowns each in Weeks 16 and 17, he'll finish with 35 touchdowns for the year.

As far as yards are concerned, only five quarterbacks have more passing yards than Manning this season coming into Week 16, and he's one of only six who have thrown for at least 4,000 yards through the season's first 15 weeks.

If Manning can throw for another 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns and come away with a victory in Denver's season finale, then the Broncos will finish 13-3 and he will end the year with over 4,500 yards passing, 35 touchdowns and a completion percentage somewhere close to 68 percent. 

With numbers like those and an incredible level of team success to go along with them, voters would be hard-pressed to find another player more worthy of the 2012 NFL MVP Award.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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